After 20 straight losses, the Jaguars are finally winners. Jacksonville used a last-second field goal to beat Miami 23-20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:
The Wright decision
After making the wrong decision and not taking the field goal to stretch the lead early in the fourth quarter, Urban Meyer made the right decision — or was it the Wright decision — with five seconds left in the game. Instead of having Trevor Lawrence throw a Hail Mary, the Jaguars called for a slant to Laviska Shenault, who moved the ball to the Miami 35, setting up Matthew Wright for a 53-yard field goal. After barely making a 54-yarder three and a half minutes earlier, the former UCF kicker booted it through, giving the Jaguars, and Meyer, the first win of the season.
Trevor trending up
Trevor Lawrence is the real deal. At least, he’s going to be. He has shown weekly improvement as a rookie and continues to make throws that have rarely been seen from a Jaguars quarterback. His second-quarter touchdown pass to Marvin Jones was thrown with pinpoint accuracy. He did not appear to make any bad reads and on the rare occasions when his passes were inaccurate, they were not at risk of being intercepted. Lawrence finished the day 29 of 41 for 319 yards and a touchdown. Lawrence did not throw an interception (he did fumble on a play where he was sacked). He’ll be able to spend the bye week secure in the way that he is playing.
The pass defense is what it is
Once again, the Jaguars struggled against the pass. Miami leaned on the short passing game, which negated the Jaguars’ inconsistent pass rush. Although Josh Allen pressured Tua Tagovailoa a few times, the Dolphins quarterback wasn’t put in danger enough to hurt his ability to connect with his receivers. Once again, the tight ends proved too much for the Jaguars to handle. Miami’s tight end corps of Mike Gesicki, Cethan Carter and Durham Smythe combined for 14 receptions for 182 yards. Covering tight ends has been a weakness of the team all year and it must be addressed.
Had the Jaguars been blown out in London, I expected to see substantial changes over the bye week. Instead, I would not expect big changes. It’s just one win. And Miami isn’t very good. But the Jaguars are no longer mired in a losing streak and are not the last team without a victory in the NFL (thank you, Detroit Lions). After the bye week, the Jaguars will be back on the field on Halloween in Seattle against a Seahawks team that will not have Russell Wilson at quarterback. Dare to dream.